Without naming names, I have to say I’m not crazy for all this Franco-filter-metal dance music that’s been making so many indie-dance party playlists lately — lots of overdriven guitars set incongruously to boilerplate four-to-the-floor beats. There are some gems, though, songs that don’t sound like house remixes of Metallica. Here are four.
New Young Pony
New Young Pony Club, “Ice Cream”
This female-fronted electro-lite outfit get Le Tigre comparisons but only because people forget Bis, who like NYPC knew how to make starving guitars sound chic. “I can give you what you want,” voxer Tahita speak-sings over a beat that’s more a glorious drag than a punchy doped-up scorcher. A bump in tempo — that’s the only thing she smartly refuses to give.
Pink Skull, “Toad Stunner”
This Philly band nip Jonathan Richman’s “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 Road Runner Road Runner!” line, run it backward, rub, tug, and pull at it over a huge but sparse hard-house beat: big walloping sub-bass, lots of Latin percussion flourishes up top, and next to nothing in the middle. Think Atlantic Jaxx instrumentals, Switch remixes, and the drum intro from Santana’s “Evil Ways.”
Whitey, “Wrap It Up”
It’s as if somebody said, “Guitars. White guys. Disco beats. Go go go!” And then this track started playing. Skepticism will run high, but wait for the B-section: a call-and-response between an acid squelch and the funkiest, most surprisingly monstrous bass lick you could expect from a guy called Whitey.
Kris Menace Presents Stars 33, “I Feel Music in Your Heart (Kris Menace and Lifelike Remix)”
Keeping French filter disco alive and proper, Kris Menace has the same soft-focus fuzzy synth presets as his peers and predecessors, but he might be the biggest tease of all. Here he juices the vocal hook for locked vinyl charm, but the colors of the melody never fully dissipate, and the song just swells and swells until you want to strangle Menace for the break.